Keyboard shortcuts are essential for making Windows 8 easier to use. As described in a previous tip, the Windows key is part of many time-saving shortcuts. But there is also a different type of keyboard combination with a long history in Windows systems that is very useful. It is the versatile shortcut Alt+F4 and here are three different ways it can help make Windows 8 more efficient.
Close a Windows 8 full-screen app
Metro or modern apps on the Windows 8 Start screen take up the entire screen and have none of the menus found in desktop Windows programs. So there is no way to close them directly. You can switch out of them with the Windows key or other ways but they remain running in the background. If you want to close down an app completely, Alt+F4 does the trick.
Close a desktop program
If you are on the desktop, Alt+F4 will close the program that has the focus. This is the same shortcut that has been available in previous versions of Windows.
Shut down Windows 8
With no Start button, shutting down Windows 8 takes several steps to open Settings-Power and then display the shutdown menu. If you are on the desktop, there is a quicker way. Click or tap an empty spot on the desktop to give it the focus. Then use Alt+F4 to open the shutdown menu shown in the figure. You can then select the desired action. This is also a carry-over from previous Windows versions.
If you are not already on the desktop, use the keyboard shortcut Winkey+D to get there quickly.
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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.